Penelope at the Loom

for Penelope Necowitz

All day weaving
In the sight of a roomful of men
Who spend all day strutting
In the sight of each other,
Puffing their chests,
Grabbing the stubby handles of their swords,
Glowering, boasting, whispering,
Eating all day,
Proposing all morning,
Revising their proposals all afternoon.
All day weaving, ordering another sheep killed,
Weaving, ordering more bread baked,
Weaving, ordering more fish caught,
Weaving, praying that the warp will hold
Another day of weft thrust in and out.
No one of all these men has seen
The pattern on the loom change day
By day, noticed that the fabric’s
Open one day, full of light and air,
And woven close and thick the next.
At night, when they’re all snoring
On their swords, I undo it all—
Unwind the finished cloth,
Unknot the warp,
Unravel all the weft,
And wind it all back up again.
Unlike the things we birth and love,
My cloth stays in my hands,
Until I know each slub and fray.
Unraveling each night,
My yarn falls back to me.


Devon Miller-Duggan’s Pinning the Bird to the Wall is available from Tres Chicas Books.